Campus News


Celebrating Saxophonist Charles McPherson’s Five Decades in Jazz

Celebrating Saxophonist Charles McPherson’s Five Decades in Jazz at Soka Performing Arts Center

Aliso Viejo, CA – Celebrate one of the most influential living musicians in jazz with A Tribute to Charles McPherson at Soka Performing Arts Center on Friday, February 3, 2017 at 8 p.m. Single tickets are $35 for adults; and $29 for students, seniors and active military families. Tickets for groups of 10 or more are $28 each. Purchase tickets online at or by calling 949-480-4ART (4278).

This event celebrates the life and music of Charles McPherson with featured performances by Brian Lynch on trumpet, Johnathan Blake on drums, Jeb Patton on piano, Ray Drummond on bass and McPherson on sax. For more than 50 years, saxophonist McPherson has been one of the most expressive and highly regarded voices in jazz. His rich musical style, rooted in the blues and bebop, has influenced and inspired generations of musicians and listeners.

McPherson has performed on more than 70 recordings to date, both as a leader and as a sideman. His most recent recording, “The Journey,” featuring Keith Oxman on tenor saxophone, Chip Stephens on piano, Ken Walker on bass and Todd Reid on drums, was released in January 2015. McPherson is also an active composer and his most recent large-scale work, “Sweet Synergy Suite,” is the product of a grant from the San Diego Foundation’s Creative Catalyst Fund. In 2014, McPherson was a guest coach with the Juilliard Jazz Artist Diploma Ensemble. In May 2015, McPherson was awarded an honorary doctor of fine arts degree from California State University at San Marcos for “his outstanding professional and creative accomplishments and his influential role in mentoring future generations of musical artists.”

Born in Joplin, Missouri, on July 24, 1939, McPherson developed a love for music at a young age. He moved to Detroit in 1948 at age nine into the same neighborhood as his future mentor, pianist Barry Harris, as well as his friend and future bandmate, trumpeter Lonnie Hillyer. In the mid-1960s, McPherson began to record more frequently with other musicians, including Harris and trumpeter Art Farmer. His first recording as a leader, “Bebop Revisited,” was made in 1964 and featured Carmell Jones on trumpet, Barry Harris on piano, Nelson Boyd on bass and Albert “Tootie” Heath on drums. He moved to San Diego in 1978, and since then, he has maintained an active career as a performer and educator throughout the United States and abroad.